The Sao Paulo IndyCar race is set to be re-run on Monday due to the downpours that prevented the event taking place in its scheduled Sunday afternoon slot Watch video highlights, BELOW).
Despite IndyCar officials' best efforts to at least complete half a race distance today, with conditions not improving and darkness close, the teams have now been sent back to the paddock and informed that there will be no further track activity today.
"It's disappointing to have to postpone any event, but especially one that we anticipated to be such a great event," said Brian Barnhart, IndyCar's president of competition and racing operations. "The city of Sao Paulo did an outstanding job on improving a circuit that produced 96 passes for position a year ago and had a lot of on-track action, but ultimately, it came down to a visibility issue and safety for our competitors is a priority.
"We thank the city and state of Sao Paulo and the event promoter and track workers for their efforts to dry the track. Hopefully, the great racing fans in Brazil who came today will come back tomorrow and fill the grandstands for the great event they came to see."
Rain had started falling an hour before the start, and got substantially worse early in the race, which had only managed two green-flag laps in the first nine due to a series of incidents on the slippery track.
A two and a half hour red flag period followed before a second attempt to get the race underway was made. But this was abandoned after five laps behind the pace car during which it was clear that there was still too much standing water. The start of the rescheduled race is expected to take place at 9 a.m. local time tomorrow.
Poleman Will Power (Penske) had held the lead throughout the handful of laps that were run, with carnage in his wake. Fellow front-row starter Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) went straight on and into the tires at the first chicane, while on the outside of the corner a brush between Ganassi's Dario Franchitti and Penske's Helio Castroneves left the latter in the wall, where he was collected by Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan – with Patrick's Andretti car ending up underneath de Silvestro's HVM Dallara, and Kanaan (KV) suffering a minor hand injury.
At the restart, Ganassi's Scott Dixon spun down the order from second place, and Justin Wilson (Dreyer & Reinbold), James Hinchcliffe (Newman/Haas) and Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing) became entangled, though all four were able to continue without damage.
Graham Rahal briefly moved up to second for Ganassi only to also spin, though he only lot a few places and continued behind Power, Penske's Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway (Andretti) and Takuma Sato (KV), and just ahead of Dario Franchitti. A.J. Foyt 's driver Vitor Meira had got up to seventh, but as the rain worsened he crashed heavily at the end of the backstraight due to brake damage sustained in an earlier incident.
With Bourdais and Hunter-Reay also having further spins, and JR Hildebrand and Raphael Matos joining Meira in the Turn 11 run-off, it was clear that conditions had become impossible. During the long red flag that followed, race control eventually decreed that all teams could resume work on their cars in the paddock, allowing the likes of Castroneves, Kanaan and even Meira to join the track again for the planned restart later in the afternoon, albeit all several laps down.
Although conditions were still too bad for a green flag, there was still a significant change in the order as Long Beach winner Conway's car stalled on track due to electrical problems and fell from third to 20th. That means Power will be followed by Briscoe, Sato, Rahal and Franchitti if the race resumes tomorrow in the order in which the cars completed lap 14 of the planned 75.
The postponed race will be televised live on Versus at 8 a.m. ET. It will resume at the point of Sunday's postponement on lap 15 with approximately 1 hour, 19 minutes remaining in the two-hour race time limit.